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We have all heard the sentiment be careful what you wish for—truer words have never been spoken. So often we feel if we get what we wish for: get the promotion, find the perfect job or find the supportive relationship all will be well. The truth is that even if/when we receive these things we are still ourselves still filled with the imperfections, shame, doubts, insecurities. Still us.
We see this all the time in famous people who have a sudden level of success and then hit the wall. A recent tragic example of this is Whitney Houston–had it all, beautiful voice, great success, true talent but couldn’t keep her demons at bay. Couldn’t overcome her addictions, face her pain and be ok with herself.
I see it with my clients who come in looking for the perfect job and when we discover what it is they are immediately struck with doubts, fears, insecurities about achieving or doing the job. Even clients who for some great stroke of luck get handed a promotion or find their ideal work they inevitably return looking for more. Because bottom line, you are still you…regardless of the outside factors you achieve. You are still an imperfect, lovable, infallible, human being.
Sometimes, the harder we have worked towards a goal or the longer we have wanted something the greater the disparity becomes. In the time we were wishing or working towards the ideal, we built up an expectation that when I find (the new job, the perfect mate, the book deal, an independent business) my life will be perfect. Any time we are feeling doubt, fear or insecurity in this process we think “Oh but when I get (fill in the blank) THEN all this insecurity will be gone” we dump any negative or painful emotions in to the “I don’t have (fill in the blank) box” and that is why I am miserable. And then we get what we wanted and we realize we still have all those negative emotions, we still have fear, doubt insecurity even WITH the thing we most dreamed about. Then we are left a bit disillusioned.
One of the strongest examples of this is a personal, non-career example. For most of my adult life I was single, longing to find a mate. When I say longing, I mean I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted to find a life partner, I went on dates, joined, dating services even hired a matchmaker. During this time, every doubt, pain, fear, sadness I had I would put in the “this wouldn’t be here if I was partnered” box. If I was scared, lonely, tired, doubtful I would think “if I had someone I wouldn’t feel like this”. My belief was once I was in loving, caring relationship I would be free of doubts, fear, or sadness. Well here I am 3 years into a wonderful loving relationship that quite honestly contains all the elements I dreamed of when I was single. Yet I still have days of feeling tired, scared, doubtful and even lonely. Yes now I have a loving supportive partner to talk about these emotions with and who would take away every single one of these negative thoughts if he could. But unfortunately finding a loving relationship (although amazing) wasn’t miraculous at the end of the day I am still me. I am just me, married. I am not fixed, healed, or perfect. I am just me, an imperfect, lovable, infallible, human being
So yes, finding the work you love is important, having loving supportive relationships in your life is fantastic, having goals and plans is empowering AND even with all those achievements YOU are sell YOU. Real change comes from within. Real happiness, real joy, real passion is something you cultivate internally. At the end of the day the outside achievements are important but it is your relationship with yourself that is the key to living and working happier.